Breaking Bad: Seven Thirty-Seven

"Seven hundred and thirty seven thousand dollars. That's what I need."

Walt and Skyler White are both going through a terribly difficult time in their lives, but there, the resemblance ends. The contrast is extreme. It's like they're on different planets.

They're not communicating at all, which was made obvious by the scene where Walt (in his evil Heisenberg black hat) and Skyler (in the greenest facial masque I've ever seen) did *not* have sex in the kitchen. Walt was a basket case, reacting emotionally to almost dying but unable to tell her about it, while all Skyler registered was that her husband was apparently attacking her. We had Walt trying to decide how to deal with Tuco, while Skyler was hanging up on Marie. And we also had Walt hiding drug money and Jesse's gun in a box of disposable diapers, because you can never have too much symbolism.

My favorite scene by far was Skyler's meltdown all over Hank. In fact, I think Hank and Marie were comic relief this time. I loved the kid's utterly appalled expression when Marie ran over his toy car. Marie appears to be mainlining Splenda and reluctantly seeing a shrink about her shoplifting habit. These two things are probably related.

Walt was trying to figure out exactly how long he'll need to continue consorting with Tuco (eleven weeks, $737,000) without considering that there is no dealing with a man who is this crazy. How does Tuco stay in business if he keeps killing his friends? Did Tuco kill Gonzo, too, or was he killed accidentally while trying to hide the body? Either way, that precarious and deadly wall of cars is still my favorite candidate for Most Obvious Symbolism, and eventually, that wall is going to come down on Walt.

In fact, since Tuco just took Walt and Jesse away at gunpoint, maybe it just did. Obviously, the series isn't about to end, but this sort of thing is just going to keep happening, isn't it? I also don't think Walt brought along that poison when he went out to the car, did he?

The opening scene was obviously in media res, with sirens and a burned stuffed animal floating in a pool. One of its disembodied eyes went down the pool drain. By the end of the episode, we had not reached this scene. I assume we'll reach it eventually.

Bits:

-- Walt said that he needs $737,000, but it's an odd amount. "Seven Thirty-Seven" is the title of the episode and I feel compelled to point out that a 737 is also a plane. In the junkyard, Walt hid the meth in what looked like an airline seat. Probably a bus seat, though, because what would an airline seat be doing in a car junkyard?

-- Cars, cars, cars. I really can't tell one from another, but Walt is driving a boxy hybrid, isn't he? Skyler has a really old station wagon, and Jesse drives an ancient red piece of crap with dice hanging from the rear view. Tuco drives a huge black SUV. All very much in character. And of course, the deals have been going down in a car junkyard.

-- Great shot of Jesse at the Dog House with the neon sign in the background, the sausages flickering on one end, the tail wagging on the other. No symbolism there, huh?

And pieces:

-- Hank referred to Walt's blue product as "old school biker meth" and mentioned the inexperienced new cooks getting in trouble with "the boys from Juarez".

-- Skyler was looking at a photo of herself with a man who was not Walt. Uh oh.

-- Would a DEA agent send a gruesome crime scene photo to his brother-in-law? That just felt too convenient. Hank wouldn't be that unprofessional, would he?

-- Hank knew all the time that Marie was shoplifting, and even knew about the tiara. Hank, I'm disappointed in you.

-- Junior came into the kitchen and saw a smear of green face masque on the fridge. I'd love to know what he was thinking.

-- This episode was directed by Bryan Cranston. He did a great job.

Quotes:

Marie: "I don't know, I just feel like Chinese. Do you think that Chinese people ever just feel like American, you know? Go out and get little take out boxes with mashed potatoes and meatloaf, and try to figure out how to use the little knives and forks?"

Jesse: "Are we just gonna grow a magic beanstalk? Huh? Climb it, and escape?"
Walt: "We are going to process them into ricin."
Jesse: (doesn't know the word) "Rice 'n... beans?"

Hank: "We have got to be understanding, you know? We gotta, you know, we gotta support the shit out of her."
Skyler: "Oh. Do we?"
Hank: "Yeah."
Skyler: "I need support. Me. The almost forty-year-old pregnant woman with a surprise baby on the way, and the husband with the lung cancer who disappears for hours on end and I don't know where he goes and he barely even speaks to me any more. With the moody son who does the same thing. And the overdrawn checking account. And the lukewarm water heater that leaks rusty looking crap and is rotting out the floor of the utility closet and we can't even afford to fix it. But ohhhh. I see. No. I'm supposed to go, Hank, please, what can I possibly do to further benefit my spoiled, kleptomaniac bitch sister, who somehow always manages to be the center of attention! Because GOD KNOWS SHE'S THE ONE WITH THE REALLY IMPORTANT PROBLEMS."
(bursts into tears)
Hank: (pause) "Want me to take a look at that utility closet?"

Three out of four magic beans,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

4 comments:

Patryk said...

The first season was cut short by the writers strike. So normally this would be a season 1 episode.

Laslo Losla said...

Did you notice that in the scene where Walt and Jesse are reviewing the details on how to make Tuco sniffs on the ricin suplemented meth, when Walt's phone rang he checked first the "second" one, nevertheless the only person that supposedly calls him to this phone was sitting next to him.

So, from this piece we just can guess one of two things: either there is something going on that is not showed to us (who else, besides Jesse, has the number of Walt's second cell phone?), or Walt can be distracted easily, contrary to the idea left by the situation with Crazy Eight (Walt got suspicious and visualized Crazy Eight's plan just by a glimpse to the trash can).

Josie Kafka said...

I'm late to the party with this response, Laslo, but I think it might be c) the writers wanted to remind us that Walt has two cell phones. :-)

Alex Souplopoulos said...

Loved the episode even though it scared me with its gritty realism that you'll never see in any Hollywood drugs&guns movie. I agree with Billie, the Skyler meltdown was just a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

I wonder, how does Hank allowing Marie make the tiara a baby shower present help "support" her kleptomania?